Mitchell among five additions to White Sox 40-man roster

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Mitchell among five additions to White Sox 40-man roster

The White Sox added five players to the team's 40-man roster Tuesday, thus protecting them from being selected in December's Rule 5 Draft. The contracts of outfielder Jared Mitchell, catcher Josh Phegley, left-hander Santos Rodriguez and right-handers Andre Rienzo and Charlie Shirek were purchased, leaving the White Sox with 39 players on their 40-man roster.

Players are eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if they are not on a team's 40-man roster and have been in the organization for four or more years (that number increases to five or more if a player was signed before age 18). Mitchell and Phegley were the team's first and second-round picks in 2009, while Rienzo, a native of Brazil, just completed his fourth year with the organization. Rodriguez joined the White Sox in 2009 as part of the return from Atlanta for Javier Vazquez, while Shirek has been part of the White Sox farm system since 2007.

Mitchell hit .237.358.420 with 11 home runs and 21 steals between Double-A and Triple-A in 2012, although his progress remained stunted by a high strikeout total (179 in 130 games). Phegley, who battled a blood disease for most of his career in the Sox system, hit .266.306.373 in 102 games for Triple-A Charlotte while throwing out 46 percent of attempted base-stealers.

Rienzo, who wrapped up a stint in the Arizona Fall League early to join team Brazil's successful World Baseball Classic bid, compiled a 2.53 ERA with 113 strikeouts and 42 walks over 103 13 innings between Single-A, Double-A and Triple-A in 2012. The 24-year-old was suspended 50 games in April for violating Minor League Baseball's drug treatment and prevention program.

Rodriguez, a hard-throwing lefty reliever, struck out 69 in 71 13 innings between Birmingham and Charlotte. And the 27-year-old Shirek enjoyed some success at Triple-A, posting a 3.65 ERA with 117 strikeouts and only 29 walks in 170 13 innings in 2012.

With only one open spot on the 40-man roster, the White Sox would have to designate a player or two for assignment to add multiple pieces in the offseason via free agency.

Omar Narvaez helps father celebrate his birthday in style with first home run

Omar Narvaez helps father celebrate his birthday in style with first home run

Omar Narvaez’s teammates gave him a beer shower after he blasted the first home run of his career on Friday night.

But the rookie catcher said it wasn’t the best gift he gave or received in a 7-3 White Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins. Narvaez’s father, Omar, was in attendance at U.S. Cellular Field and celebrating his birthday when he son blasted a 377-foot drive to right field.

“It was great, especially because it was my dad’s birthday today,” Narvaez said. “It’s a very special gift for my dad. That’s what I was thinking as I was running the bases. It’s the best thing I could do this day.”

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Narvaez, who hails from Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela, said his family has been in town all week to see him play. His fourth-inning homer off Twins pitcher Pat Dean put the White Sox ahead 6-0. Narvaez -- who has seven minor-league homers, including two at Triple-A Charlotte this season -- homered in his 111th plate appearance in the big leagues.

“That was awesome,” pitcher Carlos Rodon said. “I’ve been waiting a while because I know he’s got that pop. Took him a little bit, but I was happy for him.”

Young White Sox players star in win over Twins

Young White Sox players star in win over Twins

The word electric was used multiple times to describe several young White Sox players on Friday night and it wasn’t hyperbole.

Carlos Rodon tied an American League record with seven consecutive strikeouts to start a 7-3 White Sox victory over the Minnesota Twins at U.S. Cellular Field and Tim Anderson was an all-around force. Anderson turned several double plays and finished a double shy of the cycle and Rodon, who was coming off the best start of his career, struck out 10 to close out a stellar second half. Rookie catcher Omar Narvaez also blasted the first home run of his big league career in the victory.

“This was some electric stuff coming out,” White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. “I would say the first seven hitters were better than (Sunday’s start). He just, it looked like his confidence and end of the year, letting it out. It was definitely the best stuff-wise of having it all -- fastball, slider, mix in a change. I think that’s just a big confidence boost for him of getting to that point where he can do that.”

Where Rodon is now compared with 2 1/ 2 months ago is vastly different. Frustrated by a 2-7 start and a sprained wrist sustained when he fell in the dugout, Rodon was about as low as he’s been in his two seasons in the majors. But the North Carolina State-product vowed to treat the second half like an entirely different season when he returned from his injury and he has done just that.

Featuring a fastball that topped 99-mph, according to brooksbaseball.net, and with his wipeout slider in tow, Rodon quickly looked in control against the Twins. He struck out the side in each of the first two innings. Only two of his first seven strikeouts came via called third strikes.

Rodon’s third-inning whiff of John Ryan Murphy moved him into a tie for the team and AL record with ex-White Sox hurler Joe Cowley, who struck out the first seven he faced in a May 28, 1986 loss at the Texas Rangers. Coupled with the three strikeouts to end Sunday’s start in Cleveland (part of 11 overall), Rodon’s 10 straight strikeouts between the two games matched the most by a major league pitcher since Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Eric Gagne did it in 2003.

“He was throwing a lot of strikes,” Narvaez said. “The slider was perfect today. He was at his best today.”

Rodon was only slowed down by a 31-pitch sixth inning as he allowed three runs (two earned). He yielded three hits, walked three and struck out 10 to improve to 7-3 with a 3.45 ERA since the All-Star break. The left-hander struck out 77 batters in 73 innings from July 31st through the end of the season.

“It’s easy to play behind him because it makes my job a lot easier when he’s striking out people,” Anderson said.

Rodon feels the same about the way Anderson has played since he arrived in the majors in June. The rookie shortstop continues to excel even though he has never played more in a season than he in 2016.  

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Anderson headed into the eighth inning with a chance to complete the cycle. Needing only a double after he tripled and homered in his first two at-bats, Anderson grounded out and finished 3-for-5.

He turned on his speed when he tripled off the glove of Byron Buxton in the first inning and scored on Melky Cabrera’s RBI double. Anderson flashed his power when he blasted his ninth home run in the third, a two-run shot that traveled 410 feet. And used his glove and arm to turn several nice plays in the field.

“He’s electric,” Rodon said. “Just watching him develop over this few months here, it’s been incredible. Making those plays in the hole and just swinging the bat great. That’s a guy our team can feed off of when he’s in the lineup.”